tv Global Poverty CSPAN November 29, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm EST
c-span as many of you are watching over the internet. all of you whether here or virtual, i'm delighted to welcome you. i am president of the american enterprise institute. , harnessing the power of those of you who are here because of jacqueline know the incredible accomplishments that, the approach to poverty she has taken which has changed the terms of the debate. those of you not familiar with her work, i'll give you one paragraph. then we'll get started on the conversation. it's going to change your way of thinking i believe. there is not a bright line
between philanthropy and free enterprise. a he contrary, it is combination of the two approaches that is truly novel. under jacqueline's leadership, acumen has invested more than $88 million in 82 companies, is that correct? is that current? >> yes. it might be over 90 after yesterday. >> all right. pretty good. in companies in south asia, africa, basically all over the world where there is a need for this approach. delivering healthcare, water, housing, energy, all of it oriented toward the poor. these companies have created and supported 60,000 jobs and brought basic services to more than 123 million people. her background before joining acumen is a marvel. she founded and directed the rockefeller foundation's tlanta -- philanthropy
workshop, she began a career at chase manhattan bank. she is on the board of a number of great organizations such as he aspen institute and if that were not all she is also the 2010 best seller "the blue sweater, bridging the gap between rich and poor in an interconnected world." if you haven't read it, you should. there are a lot of key insights that attracted knee jacqueline's work. i've known of her for a long time and i am delighted to say we've become friends over the past few months. we had a terrific dinner 2010 b "the blue sweater, bridging the gap between rich and poor in an interconnected world." if you haven't read it, the other night at jacqueline's apartment in new york city where we talked about some of the biggest issues facing us in politics and in america and around the world and how all of us can be better ready to serve the poor. forward to king this for a lopping time. welcome, jacqueline. >> thanks, arthur. i'm excited, too. >> forward to this for a this conversation at will benefit everybody i think.
i'll start with a little background. some people know really well what acumen does. those who don't are going to be amazed. can you walk us through one of your recent projects from investors to entrepreneurs to customers to just kind of give us the full flavor of this fennom? that's really what it is. this is not an investment vehicle but a phenomenon, soup to nuts helping people. >> all right. great. so i'll start with the investors who are at the very early stage of change, philanthropists. people give us philanthropy. to find those entrepreneurs that are daring to tackle the biggest problems they see where both markets have failed and aid and government have fallen short. i'll give you the example which is, doesn't immediately come to mind for most people but it's emergency services, ambulances. so in india, you've got a big, bloated, corrupt government ambulance system and you have a very small private sector ambulance system both of which are broken. also corrupt.
until a few years ago if you wanted to go to the hospital you called a taxi. if you wanted to go to the morgue you called an ambulance. you had to pay a bribe to get it. so first thing that happens, entrepreneur comes in and says i have this crazy idea. i have eight ambulances. i'm going to bust this system. i'm going to build you a much better system. with a pricing model that's all private. so if i take you to the pay hospital you pay. if i take you to a public clinic it's free. or whatever you can afford. so that my service can be for all through the private sector. no traditional investor is going to put money into a company like that particularly with mumn buy with 17 million people, eight ambulances. we take our philanthropy but rather than give it away we buy 30% of this company. we use patient capital because it's got to be long term so
that the entrepreneurs can risk, fail, learn, start again. i don't think we understood just how much they would have to fight vested interests, big bureaucracy. everything from trying to get a number without paying bribes to sabotage of their company to teaching people that there's actually a legitimate system. you have to build the market. what happens is this company is growing and we are continuing to invest not only capital but then we use more flap throppy to bring in leadership -- philanthropy, leadership to bring in talent. seven fellows over seven years. there is a terrorist attack in mumbai and suddenly not only does acumen see this thing works, but the population and government sees that a city needs an emergency response system that the world can count on. interestingly, the same thing appened in the united states
in the cold war where eisenhower saw we only had a private sector ambulance company so if we got attacked by a nuke we didn't have an emergency response system. that is when government came in and started partnering with the private sector to build out a public system. same thing happened in india. this company went from a private company into partnership with government and we could put more traditional capital then at that point into the company. now that little eight-ambulance company has a thousand ambulances, 5,000 employees, serves 200 million people across india, and last monday pened its first fleet of ambulances in dubai. there is also a copy in pakistan and they're in conversation with saudi arabia. you can really make public change starting with private resources and private innovation. >> how long was this period from eight ambulances up to what did you say, a thousand?
>> almost eight years. >> this is a really high rate of change. it was doubling every year for a long time. >> oh, yeah. >> and then some. >> but when you look at traditional capital and traditional funds, people want the money in and out in between anywhere from three to seven years and they want high return. >> right. how much, you put in 30%. you bought a 30% share in the eight-ambulance company. how much money was that? >> i can't tell you because we haven't sold the company yet. >> we'll be talking to the department of justice. it was clearly not a huge amount of money but your investors are going to get a big return. >> well, remember, our investors in the first phase of this company were all atlanta floppists so acumen will get a return and that will be used to invest in other innovations for the poor. the other thing to remember is that while this might be a success story with a 5x return
to our capital there are a lot that happen as well. side by side we needed a lot of philanthropy to put talent into the company so this company could succeed. from our perspective, success is that we built the company that really created a private and public system for change. you created jobs. the world -- we busted a category if you will. and then the megahome run will be when the capital comes back so we can reinvest. >> paint a picture of the people putting in the capital. the donors to acumen so acumen can make these investments. obviously not the actual people. but who is the kind of person who is investing in acumen? >> we have about 400 people around the world from 22 countries. local pakistanis, kenyans, indians, colombians that are
supporting acumen so we can do this work. i would say anything from a young person in banking that gives us five to $10 a year up to names that you would recognize that would support acumen with a million dollars in a year. the reason they do is they see not only great efficiency in the way that they're using atlanta floppy for change -- philanthropy for change but long-term sustainability that if you get these right you don't shut it down when the philanthropist gets bored because you have a company that's actually working and working over the long term. foundations are also working with us and interestingly corporations are now coming to us because as these companies really build and scale, they've got all the same issues that major companies have, supply chain issues, marketing issues. so we have partnerships with dow and unilevers and barclays who are bringing some of their talent to help build out these companies. >> have you spawned similar
startups like acumen? are there other organizations like acumen because of your success? >> since we started there have been about 300 impact investment funds that have started. so now there is this whole sector called impact investing and then we also work on metrics with other organizations to help create most a trade association called aspen network of development enterprises and the risk which is looking at standards for how you measure impact not just financial change. i think we're starting to see a great conversion, arthur, where everybody is starting to to do e that we need things differently if we are really going to create a system that includes everybody. >> you talk about patience capital. i think we have a concept of what this means. the return won't be out in months because sometimes it takes a long time to do things
like you're talking about but you also talked about what you have written about, patient capital being a third way to think about aid. that suggested there are two other ways. what are the two, what are the first two ways that are less adequate to doing it? >> well, in some ways it's connected to my own background. i started off as you said on wall street primarily in latin america and i saw the power of markets. i also saw the patience in terms of markets sometimes overlooking or exploiting the poor. on the other side when i moved to rwanda i saw the power of really smart philanthropy and how did you
idn't. we're not any different in terms of numbers from a typical enture capital firm. like you said, is this truly serving the poor? people making $1, $2, $3 a day. two, is it an idea that matters that we actually see will change their lives? three, -- two is, most important is, who is this entrepreneur? not only does this entrepreneur have the self-awareness and capacity to build the kind of company that will serve millions, but do they have the ethical fiber that will do it in a way that is not corrupt? do they have the determination and the grit to fight what we know is going to come down the
pike at them? the last two are really around the business model. do we see a business model that we believe will move to profitability and we're not oing to spepped ten years if the end is 10,000 people. will it reach a million people or more? >> criteria two, three, and four are exactly as you'd have as a traditional, for-profit, commercial, venture capital firm. is the entrepreneur any good? is the business model any good? is this sustainable for explosive returns? >> true. we just need entrepreneurs to have a little more grit and determination. and they really have to understand how the poor make decisions. i can't tell you how many amazing engineers come in with the water technology that's going to change the world. but they have never spent any time in a vill age. they don't understand how people make decisions. i could put money on it that it probably isn't going to work. i don't care how good your
technology is. >> give me an example of a terrific idea utterly unworkable. i just want to make sure i don't do this. >> well, i mean, probably our first big failure, which was, unfortunately, our second investment or maybe fortunately because people gave us a pass, electromagnetic immuno sensor. >> what is that? >> that was my -- if you don't really understand it then you have no business --. >> it sounds awesome. i want to invest. >> i really liked saying it when we first did it. it was a really low cost way to test whether someone had disease essentially. where you wouldn't have the ss -- the mess, which is quite problematic in a developing world. taking a technology to market like that costs tens of millions of dollars.
again, not only changing individuals' behavior but changing market structures was an impossibility for us. on the water filtration side which i think is one of the hardest areas is that we'll get very cool technologies that you can wear a backpack and take it house to house to deliver water to the poor and people actually care about how their water tastes, a lot. people care about whether they trust you and what this water is. i think people under estimate that, and this sounds trite, but they under estimate just how human we all are and the poor are as human as the rich. they care about beauty, comfort, status, and are often willing to pay a higher price to get it. we sometimes bring in our own cultural arrogance by thinking we're doing good for others and actually our -- we're being insulting and misguided.
>> interesting. a lot of venture capitalists will say the biggest problem they have really with entrepreneurs with great idea is is they over invest in technology and under invest in relationships. basically the human side of all entrepreneurship is under emphasized among many entrepreneurs that are not really that comfortable with the humans. which is -- venture capitalists are always looking for those who say i actually understand how this interdeprates into the human experience. you just told us that. let's get back to the electric roe magnetic. >> let's not. >> the reason i want to ask you one more time, tell me what went wrong with that one. walk me through that failure a little bit more. >> well, in that case, and this goes back 13 years now, but in that case, our capital didn't have to be patient because it just burned. it impatiently evaporated.
so in that case it was -- it actually made us move away from technology to your point. the insight we got from it was that we were -- our capital and our brains were going to go much further by looking at health delivery systems like ambulances. we have a maternal health care franchise system in india, not the actual technology. and so now we're starting to look at technologies in a different way with a lot more sophistication. bak then it was the dot com boom, all the rage to look at the technology that would change the world. now you start to see some real change now with mobile phones. through that kind of technology. but show me the system. show me how you understand distribution. show me how you understand the poor and how they make decisions, much more interesting conversation about change. >> it's pretty interesting. so the main thing you learned from that was exactly what my
friends in venture capitalism will tell you, which is don't under emphasize the role of human interaction and what an entrepreneur idea is going to be all about. don't be so enamored with the tech. >> in fact, at acumen, we train our leaders including our team in three real disciplines -- financial investing, obviously, operations, and then the third, which people see as the soft skill but i would say is often one of the hardest skills is moral imagination. >> moral imagination. >> the ability to put yourself in another's shoes. the solution from their perspective. >> empathy? >> yeah. and even more than empathy. empathy in a very pragmatic way. probably the best story i have is with a solar light company.
been with this company like the ambulance company since startup. we invested at the prototype level. it was a light that was too big like but at that point we thought build it and they will come. now we've learned build it and they will come is a big, fat lie when it comes to the poor. today s a long story but that company sells about 500,000 units a month mostly in africa. and it has brought affordable solar light to 40 million people. i happen to be visiting one of those individuals with this big australian distributer for africa and the woman we were visiting was this tiny woman, grandmother, and i said to her, why don't you tell david what you like and don't like about this light. in the old charity model people would always say nice things because you've just given them a gift.
in this model, she's a customer. but i did not expect her to be quite as forthcoming as she was. she puts her hands on her hips like this and she says, first, if i could charge my cell phone at the same time i'm charging my light this would be a much better product. i thought, well, that is a great insight. then she went, and second, and then went on to give him four recommendations as to how he could improve his light. as i was watching this little woman talk to this big man, i thought, this is why i started acumen and the power of patient capital. she is neither pandering nor is she begging but she is talking to him as an equal, as a customer, and he is trying to earn her trust. it is in that interaction that they have the opportunity to transform each other. and for me, that's the dignity that comes from real moral imagination. not, i'm here to save you. i'm here to help you. but i'm here to build something
with you because you have something to bring and i have something to bring and that's the way the world can actually change. >> the relationship between two people is remarkably different when one is a customer as opposed to a grant recipient or recipient of charity. that's what you're trying to establish, right? >> yeah. and more than a customer in terms of i'm going to extract whatever i can from you. it's really an -- in some ways the more i think about patient capital i start to think of it as a philosophy that really is based on a more human approach to the kind of capitalism we need to build for the world. i think there's a craving for it. certainly in this next generation. >> for sure. let me drill into that just a little bit more before we go back to patient capital. you and i, one of the things, the worries i think that you and i share because we've talked about this a bunch of times now, you look around today and you look at the
political dialogue, which actually there is remarkably little political dialogue. and mostly recrimination and reproach and kind of an icy silence at least talking to each other. if you could characterize it as a real shame that when you think about the free enterprise discussion, which you're comfortable with, people think of that as something kind of on the political right. when you talk about the poverty discussion, that's something on the political left. that's wrong. right? and what do we do? how can acumen and a.e.i. and other organizations that reject those characterizations, what can we do to build better dialogue? it's not about a political win but actually about helping people, using both tools. any thoughts on that that you can share? >> first of all, it's one of the reasons i so deeply appreciate you as a thought leader and what you represent and we need more of you, so thank you for being you. >> thank you. i want to make sure everybody got that. laughter]
>> and we're not afraid to talk about where we disagree but let's start with the 85% of agreement. second, i think we actually need to listen to more voices of the poor themselves. some of the most extraordinary and frankly when i wrote my book surprising conversations which were incredibly intimidating when i first started them were in the communities. imagine you're standing in front of them, so what do you think? and what they think is that we want markets to work for us. because we work, we live in a really cruel market system because they're unfair, fully corrupt. we don't get healthcare unless we pay up front. so we die. that's a powerful conversation and if policy makers could listen, starting with the
people who are most impacted by created, es that were well, maybe we would start to have a little more empathy and build smarter conversations that translated into smarter policies. and so maybe i created, well, should bring a whole group to nairobi and these places for people to see. >> do you think that this insight about the complete harmoniousness between poverty relief and freedom is properly understood? because brutal capitalism that actually doesn't help people and recognize market failure is not free enterprise. that is one of the key distinctions between pure capitalism and free enterprise to be sure. is this the same problem that we have with the poor of the united states? is this -- i'm going to assume this is not simply relegated to south asia and sub saharan africa. do you see this around the united states as well that the poor don't have enough access to everything from the safety net to truly fair, free
enterprise? what are your thoughts on that? >> it's absolutely the same in the united states. where it does differ is that we've got so many public programs that are also dysfunctional but could be made more functional using companies to push. an example i would give would be when you look at our healthcare system, the united states spends by far and away more money on both private healthcare and public healthcare than any other country in the world. and yet you look at how our numbers are getting worse and worse and worse, particularly r the poor, and we rate like bangladesh when you look at african-american males in this country compared to $2 a day bangladeshi males on a health basis. >> really. on health outcomes? >> life expectancy, health
outcomes, maternal -- a lot of maternal mortality rates now in states like mississippi and alabama, look. plenty bad when it comes to -- it's better ndia than the united states in some of our poorest southern states. so how do we change that? not by yelling at each other. but i think that there are real opportunities for the young social entrepreneurs not to say government is bad or good but are there ways to create more efficient and effective ways to get people access that save money, build health, and measures that so as a country we celebrate those changes rather than just yelling at each other across ideological rifts. >> i want you to look in your crystal ball a little bit. you've been thinking a lot about how we can fix problems of poverty in new and
entrepreneurial ways. somebody else who does that is the last guest we had on our philanthropic freedom interview series and that was bill gates. the bill gates. not just a bill gates. and bill gates actually made a pretty stunning prediction when he was here at a.e.i. he said that true poverty astra digsally understood -- we can define it any way we want. we can say poverty is under $35 if we want but basically it is under $1 or $2 a day as we look at it. he said traditionally as poverty is understood can be and likely will be effectively eradicated by the year 2035. hat say you? >> i think if your definition of true poverty is a technical definition of people making less than $1.25 a day, or even more countries that are falling within the poor vs. unpoor
category, i think that's a real possibility. i think if your definition of true poverty, which is our definition at acumen, which is much more connected to the human dignity, as a human being do i have a choice, do i have freedom, am i safe to send my children to school and get them healthcare so i can be a real participant -- >> a little bit higher. >> we have a long way to go. d i think that our world would be so much more the world we all want if we looked at poverty both in material and spiritual terms. we all want the same thing. that sounds so trite. but we've got a long way to go. so by definition, in the united states we don't have poverty in that technical poverty sense. but a quarter of our kids go to
bed hungry every night. so that's where the work needs to be done is defining poverty based on a lack of capability, a lack of freedom, a lack of choice. >> interesting. i mean, an understanding of need suggests that of course we'll still have need in 2035. of course there will still be challenges and opportunities for us to work as people who care about those who have less and those who are vulnerable. 25% of people in the united states go to bed hungry each night. 25% of public school children don't receive an adequate education that matches any sort of any career that is productive in the american economy. i mean, these are -- it's hard to imagine. >> so how can this all work unless we make sure that we have people who are ready and able to participate and desiring to participate? >> so the definition of need of course is just complicated but it's great that you're talking
about this. tell me a little bit more. what would it mean, what does it mean for people to have human dignity? when i wake up in the morning, i actually have the opportunity to work. in many of the places in which we work, people have been resettled two hours out of a slum in delhi so that to move, you know, a government housing or what have you, and they have to take a bus for $2 a day into town for two hours to hope that somebody will hire them as a day laborer and that often doesn't happen and so then they end up often not going. that's not dignity. it means if your child is sick that you don't have to prostitute yourself or go to a money lendor at usurious rates
that will keep your family in poverty but you have a way to keep that child alive and healthy. it means that your children can go to the school you want and not necessarily to a madrasa that is at least a way to get that kid some food. it means being able to get the basics taken care of so that you can really start to dream about participating. when you think about 3 billion people on the planet making less than $3 a day really being effectively cut out of society, we are missing the opportunity of all those people to be our musicians and our einsteins and professors. it's really all of us that lose. >> this, i want to emphasize a ittle bit, i think this is a really pivotal moment in our understanding of poverty if we can make this sink in. what jacqueline is saying right now is that poor people are not
liabilities. poor people are assets. they're assets that are under tapped. they're sort of dead capital that we can, we have to enliven. this is part of your definition of human dignity. whether in india, or the united states, to the extent a society treats poor people like liabilities it won't raise dignity. to the extent we treat them as assets to society, we're going to liven their capital and that will also give them earned success and dignity. is this your approach? >> do you think you could join my team and become my communications director? that was so good. >> this is revolutionary. >> so let me give you an example also about when you say what is the third way. i'm sorry. so we'll build
throw it. so it's out there for ve. from a market perspective, charity perspective, forget what perspective, from a solution perspective based on dignity. they say, all right. first we have a design issue and can we create a toilet people want to go to? there is a vanity station and then there is a technical piece where the waste is separated. it picks up every day so it never smells. it's a really pleasant experience. use. ean it after every pay five shillings as an adult or a kid free and that waste is then brought back, turned into organic ferret lidser, and the idea is it pay adult or a kid free and that wi be sold on to the market. both the small holders and to corporations. now building a new market for human organic fertilizer is going to be a big, tricky deal.
>> sounds tricky. >> yeah. but it's starting slowly. right now they are moving five metric tons of waste a day out of these slums. 300 women, or 300 toilets are now up and running, about half of them are women. and about 12,000 people use these every single day. if this thing works, and it might take ten years, we now have a model for sanitation that actually provides jobs, creates better agriculture, and brings human dignity. that's the way we need to start thinking as a world. >> amazing. not just people that are assets. >> okay. on't go there. >> thank you for saving me. i was going down a bad track. >> i do have four brothers. they think just like you do. >> i have teenage boys. you can hear where i get my humor. >> yeah. i know. >> before we turn it over to the audience because they have
questions, too. i don't want to hog all the time. we have about 20 minutes left. we have a lot of young people here. who would want to be you? >> a lot of people. >> right now i want to be you. i'd like you to give us some advice. now, i read your biowhich is sort of intimidating because you've done a lot of things. you worked at the bank where you had a successful career. you worked in the traditional nonprofit. you learned a lot. you traveled. you can't just do that. it is something that takes a lot of time and what are you going to tell the ordinary people who want to participate in this but don't have that kind of background? how can somebody just start getting involved and create some value along these lines? what is the advice you give people? >> well, let me ask you -- answer that on two levels. for acumen, actually we had to build a lot of tools because so many people have come to us. so the first thing we did was
build a fellows program for those people who want to put their lives into this work. and we started off at the global level and take 10 people a year but are now getting about 1200 applications from a hundred countries for that. so when we realized the demand was so great and we had even more need in the countries in which we operated, we started regional programs. now we've got regional programs running in pakistan, india, and east africa, 20 fellows in each. but just this morning i got the numbers and we got another 2,000 applications for those programs. so you start to see this thirst out there. we said to the young people who want to be part of it why don't you start chapters? now there are 26 chapters around the world including one in washington. i don't know if there's a chapter member here. back there. and it's one of our best -- i think there are five or 700 people in the washington chapter. these are young professionals that want to think about getting involved in this work in one way or another.
and acumen is just one channel for it. but to learn to know each other, to network, to start to understand how this works. then the chapter members said to us can't you give us some of the training you're giving to your fellows? so we started online courses about a year ago in leadership, social metrics, in moral imagination. a hundred thousand people are taking those courses this year. and so that's another way to go online, take these courses. you have to do meet ups. you start learning, getting educated. then i would say from that there are real opportunities to think about building your own social enterprise. getting involved in other social enterprises. obviously, financially supporting organizations like ours that do this kind of work. but i would say that even beyond that, in some ways particularly with this generation there is such a --
almost a -- an over reference for the entrepreneur. an over reverence for the entrepreneur. and what we really need if we're going to change the world, which is long and hard and messy and requires not only lateral thinking but more nuanced thinking, is for people wherever they are to start changing the way they define their own success. and so whether you're working at a corporation or on wall street or in the church or in a nonprofit, to be asking yourself, are my actions and is my language bringing more freedom, more dignity to other people, rather than did i make more money today? when we start shifting in this way, i think we can start creating more unconventional partnerships to make the change that the world is crying for. so did my actions today create more dignity, create more dependence or more dignity?
these are the ways you can avoid the pitfalls of one and two and think more along the channels of the third way. is that right? >> that's right. >> i'm going to turn to the audience now. one more quick matter of housekeeping. you talked about chapters for acumen. you talked about courses people can do, and you talked about the fact that investing capital in the organization is a great thing to do. there is a need for that. on your website you can get all the information to do any of those things. donors can go there. students can go there. people want to get involved. they can go to your website and find out how, right? what is the website? >> yes. acumen.org. >> easy. who's first? we have a bunch of people with some questions. let's start right in the middle with this man. >> my name is rachel emancipation proclamation, i'm a research associate at the public international law and policy group and i wonder if
you could elaborate a little on how you work with the government structures in existing civil society organizations when you begin work and what you do when you with e structures barriers to access? >> acumen itself doesn't start off by saying, here, let's work with a particular government or not. it would be more when one of our companies either hit the barrier or start to partner with government for change. interestingly, the real innovation that i'm starting to see in the world around serving the poor is coming from corporations. and i have literally had conversations with three fortune 100 s of companies that have either the technologies that we were talking about earlier that they would call orphan technologies too hard, o small,
to actually, for them as a big entity, to roll out and serve low income markets and yet they and their employees are starting to ask themselves the question, if we can do this, on't we have a moral obligation to do it even if it's a lost leader? will the world then see we're a better citizen? i think in that is a huge opportunity for a different kind of partnership and it is pushing both civil society to learn more about the corporate as well as the corporates to understand what it means to work with smaller, nimble, but resource constrained organizations. some of the best examples we ve would be with dow and unilever and the way we've learned is the way we do everything, from entrepreneurial and from the bottom up. we start with technical assistance where they bring their senior leaders to actually work with our companies so that we get to know each other and arthur used the word relationship before. it's really about building trust, building relationship, and ensuring that there is
alignment. because too often people start with partnerships but they're not honest about what they get out of the deal in the partnership and what the others are getting out of the partnership and what you're trying to do together. if we don't get better at having language around that, we're going to get the same kind of dysfunction we've gotten too often in the past. >> let's go right back here and then go up to the front table. yes? >> yes. my name is mark carr and i'm the board chair of the d.c. acumen chapter. >> thank you so much. >> no, thank you. my question, and one of the questions we get a lot of as a chapter is, what, has there exits and ccessful if so other than the financial return what are some of the characteristics of a good exit? >> thank you so much.
we've exited, of the 88 million we've brought back about 14 million to acumen so that's 14 million we didn't have to fund raise, which is the fundraiser a big deal. that then will be reinvested. the big exit that everyone is waiting for is a tricky uestion in that we think internally about, do you exit for the same of exiting when you're trying to raise money as a company is really growing or do you stay with the company and continue to claim and build value so that when you finally exit, both there are more financial resources coming back to acumen but you have something really to show the world. so there are three companies that we are looking at as otential exit but i think that the short term, seven-year exit is very much overrated and wait
for this to play out, 10 years from beginning to end of this capital and you're going to see some real exits. so i wouldn't feel defensive about that answer. the second one is, in addition to exit, when i look at success, i really do start to ink about those category breaking innovations that wouldn't have happened without this kind of investment. so like seven years ago solar had a unit level, first of all, too expensive for a hospital to use. now that you're at 40 million you've proven a model with a profitable company that is continuing to grow, we're also seeing a platform on which you can build other lessons and other kinds of products. so that company has spawned other companies like a company called emcopa which is a joint venture between the solar company and a mobile banking platform in kenya.
based on the insight that the poor want access to solar and, frankly, they want access to more than a light. they'd like a system. once you make that conversion, we have to do the hard work for five years to convert people to actually trust solar would work better than kerosene but the real thing is you pay for kerosene a little bit every day. that's how they wanted to pay. so the economists who say well if you're paying $4 a month for your solar and $5 a month for kerosene, of course you want solar. you're paying 50 cents a day for your kerosene that's all that matters. now with mobile banking you can pay 50 cents a day for your solar. so when you start you're paying day for to look at why we stay in, this kind of learning is actually a public good. and that's one of the reasons acumen continues to serve as a nonprofit because we're essentially an action think tank combined to this pragmatic
investor and leadership builder organization. >> you said that, giving an example of being really patient, the success at exit might be 10 years from now. how long is your strategic plan? is it 30 years out in the future? do you have an idea what the company is going to look like decades from now given how patient your capital is? >> we do have an idea. it's interesting because again it goes back to relationship and trust. when we went into pakistan i was fter 9/11, 2001, very clear with the board and with myself that we were there for 30 years. that there were going to be really hard times and as we all know there have been really hard times. but if you are really focused on building models that are economically sound, that serve the very poor, leaders that long term will be, i believe, really shifting both the business community and
government in pakistan, you're looking at a 20 to 30-year time horizon. when i look 20 to 30 years in the future, i see not only many funds but a whole ecosystem of companies, leaders, ideas that are interacting for real change. and one quick example that took 10 years is in pakistan and you can check this out because it's cool on the website, but -- or actually not on the website, which is even cooler, because there is an ecosystem building in pakistan. where you've got some of our fellows that left google and apple to go back either as americans in pakistan living in lahore and one is building an alternative to youtube because the country shut down youtube. another is building an african-american is building a vocational company to train low income workers. then there's this regional fellow who didn't go to college
my shoes - you have -- he is making beautiful hand crafted shoes. he wants to be the zappos of pakistan but frankly his design needs a little work, his website needed a lot of work and he needed a marketing strategy. now you have an ecosystem of other young entrepreneurs willing to help him and they recently last week did a kick-starter campaign. i didn't even know it was happening. a kick-starter campaign from pakistan for him and the goal one important point lot
projects. at least for acumen and she has something like 30 and 40 years from now we might even see the face of somebody stewarding some of these projects. amazing. well done. who's next? e'll come right here next. >> i'm a senior adviser at the u.s. department of state. i have a question about the role of innovation, education, in these low income communities to essentially empower these individuals to become innovators and problem solvers. have you seen effective models specifically for communities that may not have access to the amazing plus acumen courses online to teach them these innovation skills? >> what do you mean by off -- >> offline, just not online because they don't have access to the internet. >> sure. what is exciting, though, is
these are now built by offline communities. the jest wutes talk about this idea of accompaniment. i think it is a really underrated -- something that we need to think about in the way that we build our companies. so i have a quick example even of young men who read my book and decided they wanted to create book clubs across kenya. that led to them deciding to create the ted conference that spawned these local conferences nd they've now run 60 across slums in east africa, navigate foundation is supporting these young men. when i first met them, one guy was making about $30 a month selling eggs on the streets. their average education was third grade. they need is a
gathering space. what they need is someone to recognize them as an institution to recognize that there has to be some safety in this as well. because too often we have the workshop and then you go back to kind of a desolate place where if you hold your head too high someone is going to push down. so how do we build posses for people so they not only are innovating but they've got a group around them who will help carry them through? and i think that is way too underrated as we look for quick to ts and technical boxes check. >> we have time for one more. sorry that we're not going to get to absolutely everybody. you've been very patient right here in the back. this is our last question today. the mike is coming right now.
thanks. >> thank you very much. you were talking about the young people and say i'm starting to think about my retirement nest, right? and i fully share your investments and your goals. would you recommend for a young person to put all their monday anyacumen? 50% in acumen and 50% more traditional investment vehicles? that is my first question. umber two, you look at the problems recently in india and you look at the education, when do you frame the problem as a an ate sector concern or as ngo charity? with the girls
uniforms -- a person might think we'll channel the resources from the west or from the wealthy to this person but the broader question here is when do you frame issues as a private sector solution and when do you frame that as a public sector charity? >> the first question is should we give you all our money? >> the answer is yes. >> okay. that was an easy one. how about the second question? a little harder. >> the second question is ks i actually no longer do say, this is a government question, this is a private sector question. if you look at pakistan or india, 40% of the government schools are called go schools. nobody shows up. the private sector is reaching people who make dollar a day in effective ways. there may be schools for them and you see how desperate people are that they send their children there even though
there's an illiterate person teaching them. so the question for me is, can we use the market as a listening device, as a way to understand how we can be more efficient and effective? but can we not lose the rest of our brains and hearts as we recognize that, as arthur said, we need every child to be educated so they can participate and be, and see the infinite potential that exists in them. how do we use our resources both public and private to ensure that each child gets that education? and if we are driven by that as our end, not i pray that a private sector solution or it's a government responsibility baby, then i actually think we're going to have a much healthier debate about those models that actually work. but if we continue to start at ideology, we're going to get where we're going, and so
that's how i look at it. >> jacqueline novogratz is a subversive as you can see. she is subverting dominant paradigms as we like to say in social science about a radical, using a radical approach that mixes things that work for the people who need it the most. please join me in showing our gratitude to the incomparable jacqueline novogratz. [ applause] > thank you!
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market. as always we take your calls and you can join the conversation at facebook and twitter. "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. discussed theials border security and what to do about on accompanied immigrant children. reporters talked about the white house. up next, a debate on what to do with undocumented immigrant children also known as dreamers. the panel is part of a festival in austin. speakers include a member of the local tea party patriots association, a county judge, and a young woman who is the first testifynted latina to before congress. this is about an hour and 10 nu